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Republic/Swamp Creek Trail

From Republic the trail follows quiet rural roads that reach good habitat only a few miles from town. Swamp Creek (aka North Fork Granite Creek) lives up to its name, with beaver ponds and shrubby wetlands set in a narrow valley with surrounding mixed conifer forest habitat. Nearby Mud Lake and surrounding marsh afford good views for waterfowl. At the south edge of town, Republic’s sewage treatment ponds are a likely spot to find additional waterfowl.

Access and Logistics

From Republic: Follow SR 20 west 3 miles from Republic. Turn north at the Swamp Creek Sheridan Road intersection (gravel road). Stay right at 0.6 miles on the Trout Creek Road. Traffic is minimal allowing relaxed birding the length of the Swamp Creek corridor, less than 3 miles in length. 3.2 miles from the highway, turn right onto Knob Hill Road leading back to Republic.

Paved Knob Hill Road ascends grass-covered hills, which exhibit evidence of extensive gold mining from the previous century. Mud Lake lies west of the road after 1.4 miles; a gravel side road allows leisurely viewing of the lake and marsh habitat. Follow Knob Hill Road 2 additional miles to the north end of Republic’s main street, Clark Avenue.

To reach Republic’s sewage treatment ponds, travel to the south edge of town on Clark Avenue, turning right (south) onto SR 21. At 0.4 miles, turn left onto Hesse Boulevard (gravel). After 0.1 miles, turn right (east) onto the 5cent Ranch Road. After 0.2 miles, turn left (north) onto the ball field access road. The ponds lie to the east past a field and can be viewed from the ball field road.

All services are available in Republic.

Major Habitats along Route
  • Riparian/wetland – Swamp Creek is a string of wetlands of varied size and in places a narrowly confined stream, with willow, alder, and Englemann spruce. Beaver work the corridor from time to time.
  • Ponderosa Pine and Douglas-fir Forest – Ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir dominate hill slopes bordering the Swamp Creek corridor.
  • Lake/ marsh – 25-acre Mud Lake with surrounding cattail marsh provide open water and marsh habitat.
  • Hay fields and grass lands.

Birds and Seasons to Visit

Seasons: Best spring and summer.

Birds: Soras and Virginia rails, northern waterthrush and other warblers, cedar waxwings, sparrows are likely along Swamp Creek and associated wetlands. Species inhabiting mixed conifer forest will also be seen through the Swamp Creek corridor. Mud Lake offers varied waterfowl and marsh species. Additional waterfowl may be present at the sewage treatment ponds. Sparrows and various raptors are also likely along the route.

Side Trips

Golden Tiger Pathway: An old rail grade converted to walking/bicycling (and near Republic, ATV) trail, the Golden Tiger Pathway has several access points providing excellent access to marsh, riparian, agricultural fields, and pine forest habitat.

The trail’s southern terminus is the south end of Republic. Trail head parking sites are located just east of the high school along SR 20/21, and 2 miles further east across the highway from the county fairgrounds. Here the trail traverses Ponderosa pine forest and affords excellent views of extensive marsh bordering the slow-moving North Fork San Poil River.

Another trail head is located northeast of Republic where the trail crosses the West Herron Creek Road. From this location, the trail (non-motorized) leads north beside a large hay field and channelized stream to an expanse of wetlands and riparian shrubs at the south shoreline of Lake Curlew.

Additional information on the Golden Tiger Pathway is available at www.ferrycountyrailtrail.com


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